Overall, the whole team is working extremely hard. The hardest since I've been here. We have a great feeling of chemistry and we're working hard to get better very single day. I think this is a good team, but I don't want to say too much before we play. If we play as well as I think we will, it will prove out on the field. For myself, I'm improving, working on the little things, to make myself a complete player."
Do you think your quickness improved from last season?
"That's what I worked on all summer. I worked on my speed and my agility, a lot of drills and working out. It really has made a difference. I feel a lot quicker when I'm out here."
Now, as a true junior, do you feel more like a veteran?
"Definitely. I think I have my position down now. I feel like I'm one of the older guys on the team and more experienced. I've been there before. I think that's really going to help the team and help to improve myself as a player. I think, having that experience, will really improve my game this year when I'm out there on the field."
What's your opinion of the first string linebackers as a group, say, compared to last year?
"Last season we had big names and great players. Robert Thomas and Ryan Nece. But Marcus Reese has played a lot. He's a fourth-year senior, and he's played ever since he was a freshman. A lot of people don't realize how much he has played since he's been mostly in a backup role. He's a great linebacker. Myself, I feel confident in my abilities. And Spencer Havner, he's doing a great job so far this fall. He's done everything right and looks really talented. He's working really hard."
Has the defensive team speed improved?
"I think the team speed might have improved. The big difference is I think we're trying to pursue to the ball more. That makes a big difference. Coach Snow is hounding us on that. It doesn't really matter how fast your 40 time is, but what matters is how fast you are on the football field pursuing the ball."
Is there a different feeling to this team than in years past for you?
"I think there definitely is. I think we're far more together and feeling like a family. Going out to Cal Lu might have helped that out. We were together every day, all day. No one went out anywhere. We came together and we're acting more like a family. I think it will make a big difference this year."
What would you like to be able to say when you look back on your season, personally?
"That I played as hard as I could. That I really elevated my game and helped the team as much as I can. Became a leader. That I had almost no mistakes.. And that I became a big-time player that made big plays."
You go up mostly against Mike Seidman in practice. Does that prepare you for the season well?
I go up against Mike Seidman on just about every play in practice, and he's a great player. He worked really hard in the off-season. He was already good and he's gotten even better. He's the hardest opponent, and probably the hardest I'll face all season. So, yes, I wouldn't want it any other way. Going up against him every day has to be making me better."